Saturday, July 25, 2015

When life hands you lemons, knit!

It's been a weird few days - I'm very seldom sick. Last Tuesday night we left the windows open and Wednesday we both got up with allergy problems. We both take allergy meds for about 7 months of the year but evidently the allergens were very high and still are. Ray began feeling better by Wednesday night but not me. I do think I am some better today. 

I am trying to get ready for my retreat but any exertion causes coughing so mostly I've been taking it easy, drinking LOTS of water, and knitting.

That means I have knitting finishes! 

My socks are done! They are wonderful and fit nicely. The yarn is Cascade Yarns Heritage Prints that I bought while we were in Canada recently. The pattern is Fleetfoot by Cat Bordhi.

The socks were very close to matching although not planned. While I was knitting the one on the right, the yarn was knotted/spliced together just after I began the heel. Notice the wide blue stripe at the top of the heel. The yarn pattern was not maintained when they spliced the two pieces. It doesn't really matter though.

I am going to love wearing them!

I also finished my Farmer's Market Bag. I began this before we left on our trip and worked on it as we traveled. I was sure that we would be at many Farmers Markets but we only found a couple. Wonder if we would have found more if my bag had been ready??! The small grocery stores had local produce so it was almost like a market at every stop!

The yarn,  Hemp for Knitting Allhemp6 was hard to work with but is wonderful for this bag. The pattern is Grrlfriend Market Bag by Laura Spradlin yes, the pattern is Grrlfriend! I added a second handle otherwise I followed the pattern pretty closely.

The bag is super stretch and the double handles will go over my shoulder.

I'm thinking a nap is next on my list then I have to get ready for my quilting retreat!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Staying busy

Wow - it sure isn't hard to keep busy when we are home! We've been here a little over 3 weeks and the summer is flying by.

We've been to a few Farmer's Markets. I love Farmer's Markets! The dehydrator is running. This winter we will enjoy the fruits of my labor. We have green beans, wax beans, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, kohlrabi, and more. Did I mention that I love Farmer's Markets?! I wonder how much we'll eat in a least it will keep if I have extra! Here is some of my bounty from the Dane County Farmer's Market (Madison, WI) last Wednesday.

Last time I showed you the beginnings of a Life Is Good t-shirt quilt; here is the pieced top. I think the back will be yellow Minkee and I might get to sandwiching it one of these days. There is quite a pile of tops waiting to be pinned.

I did pin one twin-size quilt and will begin quilting soon. I'm also squaring up pieces on a quilt two of our grandsons are making. They want to finish it so they can donate it.

We've also done a little time in the car. Sometimes for Farmer's Markets which I love! and also for photos. Today we were at Lock and Dam #13 on the Mississippi River. There are some sandhill cranes in that area and one family has a little one - we saw them for a couple of minutes but they went into the woods so no photos. The little guy is getting his flying feathers and exercising his wings - it won't be long before they are gone. 

I have been doing a little knitting. In fact, I was able to spend some time knitting and visiting with a friend on Tuesday. Here are my socks so far. I am making progress!

Now I need to get ready for a quilting retreat next week. I have a few projects picked out so I need to get things together and decide what to take for my meals. This place also has an outdoor in-ground pool so I'd better pack my suit. 

Maybe I'll have some retreat projects to show you next time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A quilting finish and more...

I have a quilting finish! It's a Christmas table runner and it really is flat! I took it out of the dryer and took a photo without flattening it ??? Guess I was moving on to the next thing on my list!

I started this last year before Christmas. When I knew I wouldn't finish it, I just played with the quilting. The back is some fabric that I found in my stash.

I am working on a Life Is Good t-shirt quilt. We have 27 Life is Good shirts that we no longer wear for some reason. I decided they should be made into a quilt.  Some of the designs are rather small so the normal block is about 7" X 7". Now I'm thinking that the sashing will also be made out of the t-shirts. So some blocks are cut with the sashing. This is what I have so far. The pieces are in no particular order on the design wall. The blocks with small pieces are composed of the designs from the back of the shirts.

I figure if I keep knitting once in a while, I'l eventually have a pair of socks. This is the progress on the first one. 

I won't need the socks for a while - it's rather warm here!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back to Normal?

Normal is in the eye of the beholder.
-Whoopi Goldberg
Some normal knitting:
I finished Ray's cotton sweater before our trip but just blocked it. He's been busy so I didn't ask for a model - maybe one of these days.

You can get all the specifics here.

While we were traveling, I did very little knitting. One thing I worked on was a cowl using a brioche stitch. I had a lot of trouble - a lot! I finally decided to frog it and will do some research and begin again later.

I also worked on a market bag. It is close to being done.

After we got home, I knit this cowl - actually I knit it 1 1/2 times! When I was 1/2 way done, I realized that I read the pattern wrong so I frogged it and began again. It is a fast easy knit. The photos make it look gray; it is actually a very pretty soft blue.
 You can see the specifics here. This is hand dyed wool.
Some normal sewing:
I finally found a little time to be in the sewing room yesterday. I began making HSTs for a quilt I hope to put together at an upcoming retreat.
Some other things:

We've found time for some walks and Ray's been riding his bike.

We've spent time with some friends and the calendar is beginning to fill up.

I've been spending a LOT of time working on Ray's computer. His photos have used up most of his internal hard drive. He uses Lightroom to organize his photos and I am learning way too much about Lightroom since I needed to move well over 18000 photos. I needed to do it correctly - no second chances here! While I've been working - it's rather time consuming - I've been knitting a pair of socks.

Tomorrow we are headed to a Farmer's Market, the Apple Computer store, and hopefully the Dairy where we like to buy cheese. We have a long list of errands.

Yes, this all feels normal!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The End is Near...

We talked it over and we've decided to head home. We had trouble finding a motel last night - Rapid City was full! The staff at the Cambria Suites in Rapid City were wonderful to work with - they gave us a big discount after hearing a very brief version of our story even though they only had 3 rooms left. The motel prices are high right now our bill was still over $200. We really didn't want to pay a fortune to stay in the Black Hills. We've been there before and didn't have a lot of special plans.

So we are headed home to Illinois. Tonight we are in Albert Lea, Minnesota. We made a motel reservation before we got on the road this morning and all is well. We just got back from eating right next door. During dinner a heavy rain  storm went through; we walked back to the motel after the rain let up.

We made all of our reservations for our Great Adventure last January and February. We got great deals on our rentals and ALWAYS paid less than a motel. I want to share the rentals and our comments with you.

The first place was a condo in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
This was very nice, clean, comfortable, and secure. It was a condo with underground parking. A code was needed to get into the parkade and to use the elevator. We'd happily stay there again but will probably choose something closer to Jasper.

The West Glacier cabin was very nice but the Internet and TV were iffy. Come to find out, the owner had us logging into the neighbor's internet account! The owner was also a little OCD - she had very nice furnishings but everything was covered. She also had sticky notes on everything. Patti and I talked about removing all of the notes and putting them on the fridge but we didn't. This cabin was VERY convenient to Glacier National Park. We'd pass next time. After giving the cabin a 4 out of 5 star rating, the owner contacted me and asked that I rewrite or remove the rating - she couldn't handle anything less than perfect. I removed the rating.

On to Idaho. This house was much older but on a beautiful lake. It was very comfy and we had enough room. The layout wasn't the best but it worked fine. The owner left us yummy chocolate chip cookies. It was a great house to just kick back for a couple of days. We'd probably pass next time and find something a little more modern and a little closer to a town.

The first house on the Oregon Coast was a cottage at Rockaway Beach. It was cute, comfy, and clean. We loved it! We were close to the beach and to everything in the tiny town. The enclosed laundry was in the back of the cottage down some steps but it worked out fine. We'd love to go back.

When we moved down the coast to Yachats, we found our favorite house on this trip. It was clean, comfortable, and roomy. We were very close to the beach and about 1 mile north of town but we could walk to town on the 804 trail, 1/2 block away. The yard and gardens were beautifully landscaped. We'd definitely go back.

We stayed at Rocky Point on Klamath Lake when we visited Crater Lake National Park. This was the little cabin with the Murphy Bed. The house was clean and comfortable as was the Murphy Bed! Some of the writeup was misleading but it all worked out well. This property is very removed from everything. Next time we'd choose something closer to a grocery store.

When we were north of Yellowstone National Park, we found our second favorite cabin for this trip. It was clean, cozy, comfortable, and the views were amazing. Whenever, we were 'home', I just wanted to sit on the couch and look out the windows! It was a 1/2 - 3/4 hour drive to Yellowstone but we were in a quiet area - wonderful to return to after a day in the Park. We'd definitely return.

Our last rental was the one with the problem. Evidently the cleaning lady forgot to clean it - she got mixed up. However, after seeing the place, we think the owner (who lives in another state) is being taken. The place was NOT clean. The laundry wasn't done, there was still food in the fridge... but there were cobwebs and other signs that someone was not really cleaning the place on a regular basis. It was the only rental I was really concerned about when I made the reservations. We would definitely not recommend it.

Our Great Adventure is almost over - it was great; we have had a wonderful time. We should be home mid-afternoon tomorrow in time to unload and pick up a few groceries. I'm thinking by Wednesday, I might get in my sewing room...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A very long day...

It's been a gorgeous, very warm day but we had to leave the Rockies - very sad! 

Our day was rather uneventful until we got to Lead, SD, to our VRBO rental. It had NOT been cleaned and wasn't going to be! We arrived about an hour after check-in time. We didn't stay. We have always had good luck so this was a surprise and a disappointment. We've talked with the owner and our money is being refunded. Lesson learned: Never again will we rent from an owner that is totally dependent on his cleaning lady to oversee the property because he lives hundreds of miles away.

We are at a motel in Rapid City, SD, tonight. We'll decide what our next move is after dinner.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Another beautiful day in Paradise

We are staying in Paradise Valley, referred to as Paradise by the locals. The valley connects Yellowstone National Park with Livingston, MT and it is gorgeous! I love the scenery our gravel road not so much. Of course, I love being in rural areas and hearing nature sounds. This place is wonderful!

This hanging is in our barn (cabin).
Cabin Rules
Welcome to the good life
where the rules are
short and sweet
No schedules. No Deadlines.
No Dress code. We keep it simple
Take time to Rest, Relax &
Renew. Breathe Deep
Make Smores and
Spend time enjoying
the great Outdoors it's the
Perfect time to hike and

We haven't had any S'mores but we are certainly living the rest!

Today we decided to explore Livingston, MT. It's the northern gateway to Yellowstone from I-90. First stop was Back Porch Quilts, a very nice quilt and yarn shop with great employees.

I bought a wide backing and a piece for a background of a quilt in my mind. I also bought some chunky yarn:

We headed on to the Depot. This was a working depot for many years and is now a great museum.

The thermometer was going up, up, up - a bright sunny, very warm day. We headed to Sacajawea Park and had a nice picnic in the shade. After walking a little in the park, we made one more stop on the way 'home'.

The GPS in Jeep went a little crazy  this morning. Not really sure what happened but after spending 1/2 hour at the Chrysler/Jeep dealer in Livingston, it appears that it will have to be replaced after we get home! 

When we got back to the barn, it was time to just kick back for a while. We looked at maps since we'll be traveling tomorrow. We do have GPS on our phones but just wanted to get an idea of what roads we'll be driving. Tonight we'll head down the road for BBQ. 

We leave these gorgeous mountains tomorrow. That's hard when you love the mountains like we do. 


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